|Do not fly Iberia
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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book II Chapter 1: The New Settlement.[509 BC]
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|It is of a Rome henceforth free that I am to write the history -- her civil administration and the conduct of her wars, her annually elected magistrates, the authority of her laws supreme over all her citizens. The tyranny of the last king made this liberty all the more welcome, for such had been the rule of the former kings that they might not undeservedly be counted as founders of parts, at all events, of the city; for the additions they made were required as abodes for the increased population which they themselves had augmented. There is no question that the Brutus who won such glory through the expulsion of Superbus would have inflicted the gravest injury on the State had he wrested the sovereignty from any of the former kings, through desire of a liberty for which the people were not ripe. What would have been the result if that horde of shepherds and immigrants, fugitives from their own cities, who had secured liberty, or at all events impunity, in the shelter of an inviolable sanctuary -- if, I say, they had been freed from the restraining power of kings and, agitated by tribunician storms had begun to foment quarrels with the patricians in a City where they were aliens before sufficient time had elapsed for either family ties or a growing love for the very soil to effect a union of hearts? The infant State would have been torn to pieces by internal dissension. As it was, however, the moderate and tranquilizing authority of the kings had so fostered it that it was at last able to bring forth the fair fruits of liberty, in the maturity of its strength. But the origin of liberty may be referred to this time rather because the consular authority was limited to one year than because there was any weakening of the authority which the kings had possessed. The first consuls retained all the old jurisdiction and insignia of office; one only, however, had the " fasces," to prevent the fear which might have been inspired by the sight of both with those dread symbols. Through the concession of his colleague, Brutus had them first, and he was not less zealous in guarding the public liberty than he had been in achieving it. His first act was to secure the people, who were now jealous of their newly-recovered liberty, from being influenced by any entreaties or bribes from the king. He therefore made them take an oath that they would not suffer any man to reign in Rome. The senate had been thinned by the murderous cruelty of Tarquin, and Brutus' next care was to strengthen its influence by selecting some of the leading men of equestrian rank to fill the vacancies; by this means he brought it up to the old number of three hundred. The new members were known as conscripti," the old ones retained their designation of patres." This measure had a wonderful effect in promoting harmony in the State and bringing the patricians and plebeians together.